WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is
planning to visit Israel in the coming weeks, according to Israeli Republican
political consultant Jonny Daniels.
Daniels’s assertion came amidst days
of speculation that Romney would be traveling to the Jewish state during his
campaign, as candidates did during the 2008 race.
The Romney campaign has
thrown cold water on the notion that the candidate would be visiting, and
campaign sources said Thursday that the former Massachusetts governor has no
plans to come.
Daniels, who is the senior adviser to deputy speaker to
the Knesset Danny Danon, has helped facilitate the visit of prominent
Republicans including Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain and Glenn Beck. He said that
the trip is expected for the latter half of June.
“It’s definitely being
planned,” said Daniels, who added that he has been in touch with members of the
campaign, the Republican party and the Prime Minister’s Office about the
logistics of the trip.
One government official, however, was skeptical
that Romney would be visiting Israel in the midst of a campaign when he had just
been in Israel last year. Campaign officials have also pointed to his recent
visit as the speculation about a repeat touchdown has swirled over the last two
Daniels said the details of what would likely be a multi-day trip
are still being arranged, and there was always the potential for a scheduling
snafu, but that the campaign has made clear that Romney wants to
“The message that it’s really going to send is that we have a
friend,” said Daniels, who noted that Romney’s competitor, US President Barack
Obama, has not visited Israel while in office. Both Obama and his 2008
Republican opponent John McCain made quick visits to Israel during their
campaigns. “He’s willing to take time out of his schedule and stand with us,” he
A Washington Jewish political insider said the main purpose of a
Romney visit to Israel would be “to appeal to American and the evangelical
community.” He said the trip would allow Romney to try to push against Obama’s
record on Israel, after having already accused the president of having thrown
Israel “under the bus.”